Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Life (Page 1 of 7)

Celebrating 20 years of So Weird (and of dating my wife)

This won’t be a big deal to many people — certainly not in comparison to something like the recent anniversary celebration of The Sopranos — but today marks the 20th anniversary of the night that the Disney Channel show So Weird premiered.

It’s a doubly major milestone for me, because it was the biggest break in what was then my screenwriting career — I wrote four episodes and shared credit on a fifth — but the premiere party on Sunset Boulevard was also the first official date for me and my future wife.

Last summer, I talked about those experiences and more when I did an episode of The So Weird Podcast. I never posted that here, but today’s a good day for it. It’s a fun listen if a) you were a So Weird fan or b) are interested in the career experiences of the Jason Grabowski of screenwriters.

So Weird, I truly believe, deserves a more popular legacy than it has gotten. I mean, it’s certainly not The Sopranos, but it was a Disney Channel show with uncommon depth, willing to take on real life issues but in an imaginative, non-Afterschool Special way. It remains one of the greatest work experiences of my career, one that I’m forever grateful for even if it was relatively short-lived. (Fortunately, my marriage continues to be renewed season after season.) And, aside from the technology changes since the pre-Y2K era, I think it holds up. (Same.)

I even got to write an episode set largely on a ballfield, which remains near and dear to my heart. I’ll put it up against The Sandlot anyday …

Anyway, there’s no way you’ve read this far if you didn’t like me and/or the show, so if you have, join me in an anniversary toast …

My favorite Dodger Thoughts stories of 2018

Hi everyone. I didn’t have a regular posting schedule on Dodger Thoughts this year, so I thought I might recap my highlights from the year. Thanks for reading!

The Thirty Years War (January 24)

Baseball Toaster: A quick but fond remembrance (February 2)

***NEW BOOK ALERT***
Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition
 (February 5)

Bringing back the Miracle
on Ice — and on VCRs
 (February 11)

So, what am I doing? (February 14)

Lindsey Jacobellis: ‘I could be upset, but where is that going to get me?’ (February 16)

Why I stand proudly against the serial comma (February 17)

No … just, no … (February 27)

Andre Ethier waits at the gate (February 27)

Dodgers’ division dominance comes with plenty of drama (March 8)

Best kids shows of the 2000s: A semi-comprehensive list (March 13)

The real tragedy of the Dodgers’ 1951 collapse (March 22)

Hyun-Jin Ryu’s comeback unique in Dodger history (April 17)

What Seager’s lost season signifies for the 2018 Dodgers (April 30)

Presenting the heart-stopping, game-dropping, low-flying, win-defying, mental-lapsing, season-collapsing, legendary 2005 Los Angeles Dodgers (May 14)

Eying trades, the 2018 Dodgers are at once NL favorites and World Series underdogs (July 14)

The better angels of our Twitter (July 16)

Baseball has its day in the son (July 21)

After wielding attire iron at Dodgers, it’s Joe Simpson who should be embarrassed (July 28)

The worst play in baseball: The walkoff balk (August 4)

Street cleaning seems bogus, right? (August 7)

Would you have fired Tommy Lasorda before the 1981 season? (August 23)

Why baseball defies your expectations (September 3)

Clayton Kershaw and the value beyond a World Series (September 20)

Thoughts about John Smoltz, in five parts (October 24)

The Dodgers, Dave Roberts and the human element (November 7)

The Hall of Fame, the Dodgers and the Harold Baines effect (December 12)

Yasiel Puig leaves behind Dodger memories like none before him (December 21)

A writer’s happy journey sideways in 2018 (December 31)

Wishing you the best for 2019 …

A writer’s happy journey sideways in 2018

My favorite piece that I wrote this year was “Baseball has its day in the son,” the story of how my 10-year-old developed a new interest in following baseball in unlikely circumstances.

“A modest thing, but thine own,” as Vin Scully liked to say. I felt I adapted a uniquely personal moment into a story that could be meaningful to total strangers, while keeping the true feeling intact.

Aside from the happy memories of the moment itself, it was a story that energized me, making me believe that a non-fiction, non-baseball book I had been sketching, one that I alluded to 10 months ago, could actually work, not in the sense of being any kind of bestseller, but simply in the hopes of being something to someone.

As much as the Dodgers are part of my soul, they have never been the only part. Amid all the pleasure I enjoyed from the publication of Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition, I have been wanting to stretch myself as a writer. The piece about my son, along with several others like it in my history at Dodger Thoughts that revolved around life more than baseball, convinced me that I wasn’t crazy to write a sustained narrative devoted to what was right in front of me.

Less than a month later, those plans were on the shelf.

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Street cleaning seems bogus, right?

Is weekly street cleaning just a shallow disguise for generating parking ticket revenue?

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Baseball has its day in the son

This marks my 16th summer of being a dad and my 11th with three kids in the posse. Despite my love of the game, the complete lack of interest from any of my descendants in watching baseball has been a defining aspect of my parenthood, leading me to firmly give up on the prospect of it ever happening.

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The better angels of our Twitter

I don’t write about politics on this site — one can argue whether I should or not, but that’s a different conversation.

This is a post about social media. It’s actually a post on a smaller aspect of larger issues surrounding social media that I’ve been pondering, but whatever … call it a snapshot.

Despite keeping politics away from Dodger Thoughts, I do tweet about politics, and also retweet people and stories I find relevant. At different times, I wonder if I do it too much or not enough.

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Walker Buehler’s Day On
the Despicable Me 3 no-hitter

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Tonight was the annual FamFest outdoor movie at 10-year-old Youngest Master Weisman’s school. That meant I could not be in front of the television during tonight’s Dodger game. I could not be in front of the television. 

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Andre Ethier waits at the gate

The last official hit by the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017 came from Andre Ethier, whose RBI single to right field in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the World Series put him on base for the 1,994th time in his regular-season and postseason career.

For this Spring Training, Ethier remains delayed at the gate with players still waiting to board major-league teams this year. What’s worse is that he’s not even in Group A or Group B. He’s camped out with his luggage near the Sbarro stand, hoping for a middle seat at best.

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No … just, no …

This isn’t even about the serial comma, which has a subjective argument that can support it even if the objective argument doesn’t hold up. This, from the current New Yorker profile on Donald Glover, is just an abomination.

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Why I stand proudly against the serial comma

Every so often — frankly, all too often — I find myself drawn into a doozy of a debate on Twitter about the serial comma. Yes, really.

Also known as the Oxford comma, it’s specifically the comma that follows the penultimate item in a series: for example the second comma in “songs, tunes, and ditties.”

Usually, the serial comma is completely unnecessary, and consequently it’s almost completely absent from newspapers and nearly as much from magazines, outside of Old School holdouts like The New Yorker. (Not so much in books, I should note.)

Nevertheless, several people I respect, like and esteem are fervent advocates on Twitter, Facebook and the like for the serial comma, putting me in the odd, strange and divisive position of having to explain why I don’t want extraneous, supercilious and clunky punctuation in my writing.

Rather than re-explaining my position again and again on Twitter, I decided to put it here once and for all, so that I can simply point to this post and move on.

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Lindsey Jacobellis: ‘I could be upset, but where is that going to get me?’

Lindsey Jacobellis in 2010

Eight years ago minus a day, I wrote the post “Why Lindsey Jacobellis rocks,” pouring out my joyful respect for how Jacobellis’ fun-loving response in the face of immense Olympic disappointment floored me in the best way.

Lindsey Jacobellis is my new role model. She threw herself into competition at a level few of us could possibly emulate, sacrificed so that she might be the best, and when that failed to yield the ultimate prize, instead of curling up in the fetal position, she had the self-esteem and presence of mind to appreciate the greatness of the effort and the joy of what she was part of, win or lose. I want my kids to be like her.

Four years later at Sochi, Jacobellis crashed and finished seventh overall. This video illustrates where Jacobellis’ state of mind was heading into 2018. To say the least, I was eager to see what would happen to her this time around.

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So, what am I doing?

Mood: blurry

A few of you — and I do mean a few, given that many readers have understandably moved on — might have seen the handful of posts here over the past couple of weeks and wondered, is Dodger Thoughts back?

And the answer to that is yes. And no. And I’m not sure.

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Bringing back the Miracle
on Ice — and on VCRs

Well, this was a good time — and really fun to play out on Twitter over the course of the weekend. In case you missed it there, I’m bringing it here. Keep scrolling …

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Baseball Toaster: A quick but fond remembrance

Matt Luke speaks at the Dodger Thoughts picnic in Elysian Park on August 16, 2008.

Today, the memory-bot at Facebook reminded me, is the anniversary of my Dodger Thoughts farewell from Baseball Toaster and arrival at the Los Angeles Times. Most of the other Toaster blogs wrapped things up on February 2, 2009 as well, with Ken Arneson putting the final, glorious bow on things two days later.

It’s the eighth anniversary. Twice as much time time has passed than we spent at the Toaster, which was officially born on March 8, 2005. For 47 months, I’d put what the group of us did at the Toaster up against anything else on the Internet. We were fun, thoughtful, innovative, occasionally brilliant and in many ways ahead of the curve. And particularly remarkable in this feisty day and age, the Toaster in general and Dodger Thoughts in particular had perhaps the best community I think the Internet has ever seen. We showed how strangers could come together online and chat, debate, disagree — and still be friends in the end. I know for certain that several deep, lifelong friendships have been formed thanks to the Toaster comments section. Credit the no politics rule if you like, but even if we were arguing about the hot-button issues of today, I believe made online conversation something valuable that you could actually look forward to. Fortunately, the comments section lives on for the most part at True Blue L.A.

Despite being the sort who is often looking back and wondering about choices that I’ve made — I’m nothing if not a “Glory Days” guy — I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the decision to leave for the Times. The lure of the Times (yes, it had a lure) was one thing, the potential exposure was another, the ability to start earning money through the site for my family of five was the biggest of all. Obviously, I could not have predicted the journey that followed, from the Times to ESPN Los Angeles, then to independence, then to the Dodgers themselves. And then, in the past year, came a period of near-dormancy while I adjusted to life at Showtime and worked on a book.

But the Toaster remains the Wonder Years of my baseball writing career. It becomes briefer the farther it goes into my rear-view mirror, but I’ll always cherish it. And though it probably could never resurrect the magic, this morning I dreamed of a comeback someday. It’s the reboot era, after all.

But, as they say, I digress. Anyway — and I’ll admit to the anniversary timing being a coincidence — this week I decided to do some sprucing up of the current version of Dodger Thoughts. Rare as I’ve been in here in the past year, it’s still my home away from home in a sense, and it had been six years since it had received a fresh coat of paint. So on this anniversary day, why not indulge?

All you need to know about the value of hazing

If you haven’t come up with a better way to achieve your goals than hazing, you are not trying hard enough. Period.

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